STATE LEAGUE : COMMAND PERFORMANCE
As the curtains rang down on the 1981 soccer stage, the champions made their exit, knowing full well that their performance of going unbeaten throughout the season was going to be a hard act to follow. However, early in 1982 Spearwood Dalmatinac got their players together and under the direction of a very enthusiastic committee, choreographed by coach John Davies, they were soon to perform in a manner which was to eclipse all previous records.
Rehearsals began in January without the benefit of a night series to learn the lines, but the newcomers Williams, Kamasz, Pearson, Elliott and Kilankovic, blended in well with the old stagers Witschge, O'Keefe, Cole, Snell and Smerilli. They won their first game on 28th March and it was not until 1st May that a team was able to take a point from them. It fell to their close neighbours, East Fremantle Tricolore, coached by John O'Connell, to impose this slight on their superlative efforts.
Inexplicably they dropped another two points a week later to Athena, but then went on to reel off win after win for a period of nine weeks until they drew nil-nil with Perth Azzurri at Dalmatinac Park on July 11th. A tough game was watched by one of the largest crowds of the season and passions flared as Spearwood strove to maintain their unbeaten record and Azzurri threw everything at them in an endeavour to retrieve their position in the league. David Andrews wrote that day 'at times the standard of play was of high order with only the lack of goals spoiling the afternoon'. At the conclusion of that fixture, Azzurri, the previous year's champions, were left trailing Dalmatinac by thirteen points.
The Dallies went on to suffer two further draws. Tricolore repeated their two -two draw when they salvaged a point on the 7th August, and the previous week West Perth Macedonia had managed to hold the rampaging Dallies to a goal less draw, which brought Spearwood's number of drawn games to five during the season. So dawned the finale, the last league game against Inglewood Kiev who, even with Norrie Sutton the Rothman's Gold Medallist playing, were no match for the home side who competently strolled to a three-nil win. In 1982 the league was increased from ten teams to twelve, which made Spearwood Dalmatinac's feat all the more meritorious.
So Spearwood were 1982 champions, but what happened to all the other aspiring contenders? Well, Azzurri were neck-and-neck with Dalmatinac until they met in the third game of the season and Azzurri crashed to a 3-0 defeat on their own ground. It was probably the turning point, for by the half-way mark in the season, they had lost five games and draws against Forrestfield United and North Perth Croatia would have contributed to their not making the top four. John O'Connell, in his first appointment as coach of a State league team, must have pleased the East Fremantle Tricolore supporters and officials. After an inconspicuous start, they went on to finish runners-up.
ASSOCIATION CUP : GREAT GOSNELLS
The 23rd running of the D'Orsogna Cup kicked off on the 14th March 1982, when a special preliminary round was held to accommodate the record number of 58 clubs who had entered. Teams from country Associations, PASSA, and the Amateur Association went into the hat with those from the three lower divisions; second division Melville Alemannia had the dubious pleasure of travelling to Kalgoorlie, but a four nill victory over the Eastern Goldfields team ensured them of an enjoyable trip.
Twenty games were played in the preliminary round, and it can generally be gauged if any Davids will emerge to dispose of the Golliaths of the higher leagues. Albany, who had a history of success in the cup, beat top fourth division side Leederville Espanol, and joined Pantha, Stirling County and Mandurah, as the only non-Federation clubs to go through to the first round.
The giants of the State league join the competition and it is not long before a shock result appears; Osborne Park Galeb with great aplomb despatch their compatriots, Spearwood Dalmatinac by three goals to one. Inglewood Kiev knocked out fellow State leaguers Stirling Cracovia, and North Perth Croatia beat Morley Windmills by two goals to one. Sadly all non-Federation clubs made their exits, but Pantha fought hard before losing to Rockingham two goals to nil.
Oh calamity! Third division Wanneroo beat Perth Azzurri in extra time when goals from Dodds and Parry, sent the Wanneroo supporters into an almost delirium of delight. Second division, represented by Melville Alemannia and Osborne Park Galeb, were forging ahead and disposed of Kiev and Macedonia respectively, also two other State league teams were sidelined. Gosnells and Tricolore had easy wins against Swan Athletic and Rockingham United, while Forrestfield were beaten by Floreat Athena.
Second division were assured of a semi-final spot when Alemannia and Galeb were drawn against each other and it was Galeb who would continue after defeating their opponents by two goals to one. Wanneroo's giant killing came to an abrupt halt in the shape of five goals from Gosnells City. North Perth Croatia who had quietly progressed through the earlier rounds put paid to Athena's cup aspirations and Tricolore defeated Kingsway Olympic by three goals to one.
Osborne Park Galeb who had had a magnificent run, finally met their match in Tricolore in a very exciting game played at the Inglewood Soccer Ground. It was not until mid-way through the second half of the game, that Tricolore were able to show their dominance by their winning goal. It was another closely fought contest between North Perth Croatia and Gosnells, when a solitary goal scored by Andy Godfrey gave the south of the river team a one nil victory.
A large crowd turned up for the grand final and they had the privilege of witnessing one of the best games seen in Western Australia for a long time. The final had been preceded on the day previous by an excellent champagne breakfast, where both teams and officials had joined together in a session of friendly rivalry which was to spillover into the day of the game.
Games such as this final would do much to revive the interest in soccer and it was a credit to both clubs who were vocally encouraged by the crowd that created a terrific atmosphere. The first goal scored by Gosnells could be described by saying that the initial pass by Galpin was so perfectly accurate that it was as exciting as the kick by Pottier that put the ball into the back of the net. Play was end-to-end and both goals had narrow escapes, in one instance Tricolores goal-keeper Dave Roxby brilliantly saved only to sustain a broken finger which resulted in him being replaced by young Denis Ivanac.
In the 54th minute Gosnells full-back Steve Green, headed home a Pottier cross to give Gosnells what seemed an unassailable margin, but Tricolore never gave up and fought to the end scoring a consulation goal through Aldo Trinca in the 74th minute. It was Gosnells first major win since joining the State league, and their delight was further heightened when the D'Orsogna Cup gold medal for the fairest and best player in the final was presented to Alan Pottier by Mr Stella Perroni, general secretary of D'Orsogna Bros., our sponsors.
T.A.A., who have been associated with the Soccer Federation for many years, decided to sponsor the Night Series in 1982 and besides a substancial amount of prize money, they also provided two tickets to the Eastern States as a gate prize. Unfortunately, the State League clubs were unable to participate, so it was left to the second division to fill the breach. This they did, admirably, providing the spectators with an exciting competition.
The twelve clubs were divided into three groups of four with the top club in each group, together with the best runner-up coming through to form a top four situation. Each team had to play three games in the Preliminary Rounds which began on Sunday, 24th January. Heralded by a march past of all the clubs involved, led by a pipe band, it was a brave and colourful sight as the teams clad in their cbloursfaced the crowd in the main stand.
It was Cockburn United and Bayswater Inter who met in the first semi-final, an endorsement of the decision to invite this third division side to play in the Series came when they reached the semi-final. Cockburn were the victors by the only goal scored during the game and it was Kevin Ladd who hit the target.
In the second semi-final it was a clash of the giants, two teams who had not conceded a point in the preliminary rounds. Melville Alemannia had played 3, won 3, and had scored 5 goals, Osborne Park Galeb's results were more impressive, played 3, won 3, and had scored 10 goals. It was Melville Alemannia who went directly into the final as they won a close match by a goal scored by full-back Jim McNielly. It was somewhat of a surprise for Galeb to lose their semi-final as they had been busily team-building for the whole year.
A number of ex-State players now lined up for the preliminary final and most people's money would have been on Galeb to win, but it was not to be, goals by Greg Kazmer and veteran Bobby Hind took Cockburn into the grand final.
So came the grand final, both teams at full strength. Cockburn were the first to draw blood, they scored early in the first half through Mike Hughes, and it looked as though Cockburn were to take the trophy until Graham Stewart got the equalizer and the game ended in a draw. The rules were, that in the event of a draw, the game would be played on the following Wednesday. So two weary teams took the field three days later and another close exciting game was witnessed by a large crowd who saw Cockburn emerge as eventual winners by three goals to two.
TOP FOUR PLAY-OFFS
Spearwood Dalmatinac were proudly number one in the top four positions of the State League after their wonder season of 22 games without defeat. They were followed by East Fremantle Tricolore, Inglewood Kiev and Gosnells City. Dalmatinac had been ignominiously bundled out of the D'Orsogna Cup and one wondered how they would fare in the hurly burly of Top Four Cup Competition.
The Dallies just scraped through their semi final with East Fremantle Tricolore. Steve Snell scored the only goal of the match in the 59th minute. The score line would have been much higher but for some heroic saves by Tricolore goalkeeper Dave Roxby and some skilful defensive play by Gaetano Castiello who managed to restrict Dalmatinac danger man Kevin Elliot.
The other semi final between Inglewood Kiev and Gosnells lacked the quality of the other encounter and it was goals from Steve McCaffery who scored twice for Kiev that saw them through into the preliminary final. In losing Gosnells City had a consolation goal scored by Andy Godfrey.
As Frank Green the Referee blew for full-time in the preliminary final Inglewood Kiev and East Fremantle Tricolore were locked in a one one draw. Teenager Chris Todd had scored for Kiev and Frank McKay replied on behalf of Tricolore. So the tie eventually had to be decided by penalty kicks and Kiev proved to be much more accurate than their counter parts succeeding with five while Tricolore failed on one occasion which was sufficient to send Kiev through to the Grand Final.
The 1982 State League Top Four Cup competition had been notable for its lack of goals. A large crowd attended Inglewood Kiev's ground on October 24th in the hope that they would see not only a great game but also lots of goals. Well at least the first part of the requisite was achieved. It was an exciting confrontation that some times exploded into near violence as the enthusiasm of the players went beyond what referee Eddie Evan expected or would tolerate.
In the seventh minute Johnny Davidson scored from the penalty spot after Tony Witschge had saved his first attempt but had been adjudged to have moved. Spearwood equalised in the second half through Kevin Elliot and another game went to extra time. Dalmatinac began to show clear superiority in the extra time periods and it was no surprise when further goals were added by Elliot again and Smerilli to give them a 3-1 win. A great win and a great season to Spearwood Dalmatinacs.
Every year the League season comes to an exciting climax for many of the top State League players when they assemble at the Channel Nine studios with dignitaries from the State Government, the media and from the Soccer Code. They are there for the presentation of the Rothmans Gold Medal, an award given to the player considered the Best and Fairest through-out the entire league season.
How is the Fairest and Best chosen? After each game the referee and the coach of the opposing team will give points to three players who, in their opinion, deserve three points (best), two points (second) and one point (third). For eighteen weeks the cumulative total is published in the press and then for the last four weeks the voting is kept secret in the Federation Office only to be divulged on the night of the award. Excitement mounts as the envelopes are opened and the figures are tallied up in full view of a vast television audience as well as the guests assembled in the studios.
A spontaneous roar of approval went up last year when the final figures gave the coveted award to Inglewood Kiev's Norrie Sutton. As the diminutive figure of Sutton ascended the dais to receive the Gold Medallion from Deputy Premier Cyril Rushton, there was nobody present who could deny that the recipient was not a worthy choice. It was Sutton's first season in Western Australian soccer and he had joined Kiev at the beginning of March from the Hong Kong Club 'Eastern'.
It was not a runaway victory, however, as Danny Kuzmanovich of Morley Windmills was only three points behind with 54, and Derek Watt of Kingsway Olympic followed on 52. Many clubhouses of the Federation clubs proudly display the Rothmans Honour Board which shows previous winners of the medal since its inauguration in 1971. From this it will be seen that Kiev have created something of a record by having players from their club win the medallion on four occasions - 1977 Gordon Todd; 1978 and 1980 Lee Adam; and 1982 Norrie Sutton.
Western Australia soccer had a Ball in 1982, in the shape of Alan, that diminutive dynamo who gained fame in the successful England World Cup Team of 1966. When Alan arrived here, he was the only player of that particular team still playing League soccer in England. He still displayed extreme energy and skill for Southampton in the English First Division during the 1981-82 season when he was persuaded to join Floreat Athena for a number of games after the UK Leagues had ended.
Alan Ball joined ex-Southampton players Ted McDougall and John Sydenham when he came to W.A. He played for Athena in three games, against Kingsway Olympic, Perth Azzurri, and Gosnells City. He helped Athena to victory against all but Azzurri, who had a 2-1 win. He scored in two of the games and his obvious skills uplifted the team and enabled them to secure points which might otherwise have been in doubt.
He later played for Bournemouth against the Western Australian State team at the Velodrome on a night which would have been called bad even in Manchester. Strangely the game itself was considered one of the most exciting seen in Perth for a long time, and this on the small Velodrome ground which at times resembled a backyard swimming pool. Immediately following the match the State team flew out to Indonesia to play in the Marah Halim Cup Tournament, but more of that on other pages.
In November we were visited by the University College of Dublin Football Club. Doubt has been expressed about the wisdom of accepting this comparatively unknown team to our State. Playing wise they showed abundent skills and aquitted themselves much better than their record of two wins and two draws and one loss would suggest. Their trip was finalised with the much appreciated assistance of Rockingham United, Bunbury City and Eastern Goldfields club Boulder City, all of whom took the visiting Irishmen into their homes and treated them with the proverbial Western Australian hospitality.
Trips were arranged by the Federation. A tour of the Swan Brewery; a visit to Yanchep National Park, where Liam McManamin, a club official, managed to go into the lake fully clothed (some of the team expressed the opinion that he had been trying to walk on the water!). From Yanchep it was to the Glengarry Tavern where mine host Jimmy Doig put on a fantastic spread, and the Irish visitors repaid his kindness by entertaining the clientele with a rendition of some popular Irish songs.
Friday 6th August saw our visitors at lunch at Parliament House with The Minister for Sport and Recreation Bob Pike and The Hon. John Williams, MLC, after which they rushed off to East Perth to catch the Westlander to Kalgoorlie where they were met by a large crowd of officials from the local club. Someone suggested a drink, and on being asked by one of the Irish lads what time the pubs shut, he replied 'Wednesday'!
Back to Perth on the Monday where they should have played Azzurri on the following Wednesday, but an industrial dispute put this off until the Monday just before they departed back to Dublin. Friday 1st August they attended a civic reception at the City of Perth and travelled immediately afterwards to Bunbury. Back on Monday to meet the 1981 soccer champions Azzurri at the Velodrome, and achieved a result which endorsed the decision for them to travel when they beat the home team by three goals to one.
There were a few tearful goodbyes as the team left Perth on Tuesday 17th August. By their sportsmanship and friendly manner they had made many friends both on and off the field, and their visit will be remembered for some time to come.
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